The F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA 2019 season continues this weekend at Thailand’s 4.554km FIA Grade 1 Chang International Circuit in Buriram, with Japan’s Ukyo Sasahara leading the pack of scorching international talent to the Land of Smiles. Last month, the Hitech GP driver won two of the three season-opening races at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, the third victory going to 16-year-old team mate and Red Bull Junior, Jack Doohan of Australia.
While reigning team champions Hitech GP got their second season in the series off to a strong start at the opening round, a formidable line-up of rivals will be looking to halt their domination. New Zealander Brendon Leitch, 23, certainly made his mark on his series debut, his impressive points haul putting the BlackArts Racing rising star third on the championship leaderboard behind Sasahara and Doohan. Another stand out drive came from China’s Daniel Cao at Absolute Racing, who is just six points adrift of Leitch in fourth, five points ahead of team mate Eshan Pieris of Sri Lanka.
Making his Asian debut this weekend is 18-year-old Briton Ayrton Simmons, the 2018 F4 British Championship runner-up joining Pinnacle Motorsport alongside 16-year-old Australian Tommy Smith. Simmons made his debut in the BRDC British F3 Championship last year, and this season lies third after taking two podium finishes at the opening round at Oulton Park. He will be the only driver not to have previously raced the Tatuus F3 T-318.
Making her F3 Asian Championship debut in Thailand, having contested the final round of the Asian Winter Series in Malaysia in February, is W Series driver Miki Koyama of Japan, entered with B-Max Racing Team.
The truly international field representing eight nations also includes India’s Akash Gowda, contesting his second season with M-Sport Asia, Super License driver Yu Kanamaru of Japan, Zen Motorsport’s Yu Kuai of China, and 20-year-old Czech driver Tom Beckhäuser at BlackArts Racing.
Competing in the Masters class in Thailand is the 852 Challengers’ Paul Wong, second in the category standings, and BlackArt’s racing’s Thomas Luedi.
The weekend will mark the F3 Asian Championship’s debut at the Hermann Tilke-designed circuit, although the Asian Winter Series held three races there in January. Opened in 2014, the 12-turn track is home to the Thailand rounds of the MotoGP championship and the Superbike World Championship.
The two, 15-minute qualifying sessions for Races 4 and 6 of the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA get underway on Saturday, 11th May at 10:25 local time (GMT+7). Race 4 follows at 14:10 the same day. Races 5 and 6 begin at 10:00 and 14:15 respectively on Sunday.